BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Bloomington native John Ridgeway is heading to the National Football League, and will play for “America’s Team.”

Ridgeway was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft Saturday afternoon with the No. 178 overall.

Ridgeway was a football and wrestling standout at Bloomington High School before starting his college football career at Illinois State. Ridgeway spent last season playing in the SEC at Arkansas, where he started 11 games and recorded 39 tackles and two sacks for the Razorbacks.

“I’m excited for the next chapter of my life, to be able to play in, at the highest level football,” Ridgeway said. “Just cause I know what I’m capable of and I know there are a lot of people out there that like to talk about the negative aspects of my game. I’m just trying to focus on what I can control, and that’s tackling people, you know, making plays, and that’s what I want to do.”

A big reason Ridgeway is heading to Dallas is Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones.

Jones is a University of Arkansas alum, and even met Ridgeway last season after the Razorbacks defeated rival Texas A&M in a game played at the Cowboys home field, AT&T Stadium.

“The picture of (Ridgeway) and several others when I presented them the trophy is a keepsake,” Jones said. “And yes, I remember him well. And then of course, we’ve gotten to see him play, so I’m proud for him.”